07/26/06 — Coley qualifies for nation's top motorbike race

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Coley qualifies for nation's top motorbike race

Published in Sports on July 26, 2006 2:10 PM

HURRICANE MILLS, Tenn. -- Justin Coley, a 15-year-old dirt bike racer from Wayne County, has qualified for the largest amateur motocross race in the world, the 25th annual AMA/Air Nautiques Amateur National Motocross Championships at Loretta Lynn's Ranch in Tennessee. With more than 20,000 hopefuls vying to get into the race, Coley earned one of just 1,386 qualifying positions.

"Every motocross racer in the country wants to compete in the Amateur Nationals," vent director Tim Cotter said. "A win at there can serve as a springboard to a lucrative professional motocross career."

Most of America's top professional motocrossers, including Jeremy McGrath, Ricky Carmichael, Travis Pastrana and James Stewart, have won AMA Amateur National Championships.

Coley, who attends New Beginnings Christian Academy School, has been riding since he was 10 years old.

He has won numerous races in the last five years, and competes nearly every weekend at different tracks in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.

Justin's parents, Tony and Theresa, and brother Jacob, will pack up the family camper and head to Tennessee for the race, which runs Aug. 1-5.

Coley is just one of over 20,000 who spent the last four months attempting to qualify for the event. The top finishers in area and regional qualifiers earn a birth into the national championship race. Racers may enter a wide variety of classes, from minicycle classes for children as young as four, all the way up to a Senior division for riders over 45. There are also classes for women, and classes for both stock and modified bikes.

The track is built on a section of Loretta Lynn's Ranch and Campground in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. The course contains a variety of jumps, corners and other obstacles designed to test the skills and stamina of the racers.